The Real.Est List
BrickTest: Slobproof furniture
Slobproof! is a year-old Maryland-based furniture and design company that makes fashionable, stain-resistant furniture with grime-repelling qualities designed to put Scotchguard to shame and slobs (and their cohabitants) at ease.
It wasn’t feasible to move a couch or chair into my fourth-floor walkup apartment to test it out for the review, so Slobproof! sent me a fabric kit of five swatches of material in various shapes, sizes and colors along with ketchup, soy sauce, crayons and Tide liquid detergent with an invitation to make a mess. (The company also sells a similar $16.95 "mess kit" that comes with three swatches of your choice.) I added red wine, black marker (I wrote my name with it) and a sixteen-pound dachshund into the mix.
The fabrics were a softer version of Crypton, a stain-repelling fabric originally designed for institutional use. The patterns and colors were pleasing and modern, as well as completely odorless as well as soft and comforting to the touch.
Figuring it would be the most likely to show wear and tear, I set about making a mess on the lightest and non-patterned swatch, a pale gray about nine inches by nine inches.
I tried rubbing in the wine and soy sauce but they just beaded up as if the soft, plush fabric were plastic.
Next I wrote my name on the swatch with dark green and orange crayons. The cleaning instructions simply say to blot off any residual moisture and then use any laundry or dish detergent with a wet cloth to wipe away the stains. I used Tide on a wet sponge. Within seconds of non-vigorous rubbing, the orange crayon, wine and soy sauce were completely gone. It took further scrubbing to remove the dark green crayon marks, but ultimately, those too, completely disappeared.
A ketchup stain was more stubborn. I tried scrubbing vigorously for about ten minutes, but there was still a very faint reddish outline left. Similarly, the black marker lightened but was still faintly distinguishable, showing an outline of the letters I had scrawled.
Putting that aside, I attached to my dog's bed the biggest piece of fabric—a burnt orange 10 1/2 inch square with a velvety texture--allowing him to drool and shed and leave wet paw prints across it. After a week, I put some Tide on a damp sponge and wiped for a few minutes; the grime and odor totally disappeared. (The chew marks, obviously, didn’t!)
Most liquid spills just rolled right off and others were fairly easy to remove from the Slobproof swatches, though a few desecrations (notably, the black marker and the ketchup) never totally went away. So while the fabric is accurately called stain-resistant, it is not quite stain-proof.
That said, as the owner of a white sofa whose Scotchguard stain resistance is vastly exaggerated, I was very impressed and would definitely recommend Slobproof to apartment dwellers with pets, children, or slobs in residence, or to anyone who entertains a lot or tends to dine on the couch.
I didn't have an opportunity to test drive the furniture itself, but the pieces for sale online appear to be Crate-and-Barrel comparable in terms of price and aesthetics. (Most lounge chairs start at $999. Sofas start at $1599 and they offer apartment-sized sofas too for city dwellers as well as full size sofas.).
They're made with "green" technology, and you can customize them with about 100 different fabrics. Seat cushions are all tied down to the base with clips (so they can’t be used to build a fort) and also come with a lifetime guarantee. The fabric emits no harmful VOCs, or headache-causing odors, and comes with a five-year warranty to remain odor-proof, anti-microbial, and spill-proof.
For more info, visit www.slobproof.com.